Iowa’s STEM Council recognized early on the uniqueness of each of the six STEM regions they created in 2012. Their founding vision was that a statewide STEM program cannot thrive as a “one-size-fits-all” model. Today, that vision manifests in Iowa’s six regional STEM advisory boards, guided by their regional STEM managers, enacting targeted tactics that benefit each region in the state with the tools and resources most relevant to regional needs.
All 90 members (15 on each board) fit Council-prescribed sectors represented across the region, including libraries, K-12 schools, business and industry, area education agencies, higher education, Extension, workforce, policy and more. Each board member voluntarily serves on the regional board, appointed by the Governor, helping advance the STEM crusade by spreading the word about events and programs, reviewing proposals and applications, contributing at regular board meetings and being the voice of their peers in regards to how STEM in their region can have the most impact.
Annually, the regional boards convene for a Mega-Meeting—this time, at DMACC’s Student Activities Center in early April where members from all around Iowa shared a table with fellow board members. Sessions had an “Edcamp” vibe, allowing board members to vote with their feet and voice their opinion on topics, including expansion and engagement, regional success stories, out-of-school engagement, business and industry involvement and communications among others.
Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, co-chair of the STEM Council, visited during lunch to thank them for their continued support and spirit of volunteerism, taking time for some questions from the gathered members.
The outcomes—board members take home best practices from other regions and provide guidance on developing new methods of broadening the impact of STEM from the local level to the statewide level.
For those interested in applying for a position on a Regional STEM Advisory Board, please visit https://openup.iowa.gov/home.